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Cachaça vs. Rum: Unravelling The Differences And Similarities Between The Two

cachaca and rum

Cachaça became popular worldwide during the Rio Olympics. Liquor connoisseurs relished the spirit and cocktails made from it such as Caipirinhas. But they gave it a misnomer –- Brazilian rum. Cachaças and rum have little in common. Check out how these spirits are distinctly different from each other and what factors stay common between them.

-- Commonality

Origin

Both spirits were used in the slave trade, rum was used for trading for slaves and making liquor and cachaça was given to slaves so that they could find their harsh living conditions tolerable.

Raw Material

Both rum and cachaça are made by processing sugarcane. 

Consumption

Rum and cachaça can be consumed in their white version, i.e. without ageing in contact with wood, ice-cold, neat, straight or on the rocks. And, both can be aged and consumed as well. Both are base spirits for delicious cocktails.

cachaca

-- Differences

Origin

Cachaça originated in Brazil after the Portuguese brought sugarcane to the country in the 16th century. Meanwhile, rum has its roots in the West Indies in the mid-17th century.

Types 

Rum is usually characterised as light rum or dark rum, while cachaça may be branca (white) or amarela (gold).

Ingredients 

Cachaça is made using Brazilian-grown, fermented sugarcane juice. Rum is distilled from fermented sugar cane products, such as molasses.  

Distillation Process 

Cachaça is made mostly in the traditional way in Brazilian homes. It is created by distilling only once, usually in column stills. In the case of artisanal cachaça, antiquated apparatuses such as alembic copper stills are used.

Rum has a refined process of manufacturing. Full-bodied rums are made by distilling twice, lighter rums are distilled in continuous-operation stills. 

Preservation 

rum preservation

Cachaça is aged in various barrels and casks, especially in native woods such as umburana, jequitibá, ipê, tapinhoã, balsam. This provides the spirit with a distinct taste and aroma which helps it distinguish further from rum.

Rum is aged in several containers including sherry and bourbon barrels which are made using oak, which changes its flavour profile.

Flavour

Cachaça gets a herbaceous, grassy flavour with raw, fruity notes and subtle sweetness due to the sugarcane juice. Whereas rum isn't inherently sweet but evokes a sugary note and has caramel undertones. 

Alcohol By Volume (ABV) 

Cachaça is bottled and sold with an alcohol volume of 38-54 percent, rum is usually bottled and marketed with an ABV between 43-49 percent.

Cachaça has more similarities with rhum agricole, which originated in the Caribbeans alongside rum. Rhum agricole is also made using sugarcane juice and is more comparable to cachaça, owing to the common base ingredient which lends to the spirits' flavour and fragrance.

While it's great to learn about alcoholic beverages and alcohol-infused foods, it is important to also consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.
 

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